November 30, 2012


I had great fun with a sketch challenge put forth by the Paper Players. After much debate on
a color combination, I finally decided on Wild Wasabi, Cherry Cobbler, Island Indigo and More Mustard, all set against White Naturals.

The Keepsake Ornament stamp set called to me once again, and I decided to use two of the smaller, less showy ornaments. My "bling" is kept to a minimum: simply one Basic Rhinestone.
A little bit of the gold cord that Stampin' Up! retired a few years ago (so sad) added a bit more sparkle. Elegance arrived in the heat embossed tree branch, done with Wild Wasabi Embossing Powder.

The banner on the bottom of the card is from Apothecary Art. I simply embossed it with Cherry Cobbler Embossing Powder. I then added the sentiment from the Curly Cute set, once again embossing it with Cherry Cobbler. I cut out the scrolled banner and attached it to a piece of Wild Wasabi card stock to balance the tree branch at the top.

To give the ornaments a bit more dimension, I popped them up against the background with Stampin' Dimensionals. 

This is the sketch my card was based upon:


November 29, 2012


Snowflakes, snowflakes, snowflakes! Aren't they beautiful? Especially those fluffy perfectly-formed snowflake-looking snowflakes we get a few times a winter here in Wisconsin! I love it when those delicate little masterpieces land softly on my black winter coat. I always take the
time to examine and admire them. Smile. Feel somehow warm inside. And then walk on in appreciation. What a mysterious gift!

For winter cards, I tend to gravitate toward snowflakes. As snowflakes gravitate toward the Earth.

Another person, Wilson Bentley (1865-1931) also gravitated toward snowflakes. He came up with a way to  capture snowflakes on black velvet to photograph them in all their intricacy before they melted and disappeared forever. His photographs are incredible in their perfection. I am always fascinated with his work, and even own a book about him and his frosty friends.

If you are interested in more detail on Bentley and his snowflakes: Here is a copy of one of his photos, in all its icy wonder.

Anyway, Stampin' Up! introduced to its adoring public a new stamp set, Snowflake Soiree 
(page 5 of the Holiday Catalog), which I immediately fell in love with. This stamp set called 
to me to use it with emboss resist. And I responded with this card:

We created it at my November workshop. Instead of the traditional way of doing an emboss 
resist by sponging with ink, this one uses reinker instead. It's a little messy, a little less predictable, and I think, a lot of beautiful. 

I know they're not as beautiful as Bentley's snowflakes, mostly because these snowflakes 
are merely (wo)man-made. And not the real thing. You can see how the inks run and flow 
into each other to form marvelous marblized areas of mystery, evoking a wintry sky. 

To create your own Believe snowflake card:

Snowflake Soiree stamp set

Tempting Turquoise card stock
Whisper White card stock
Glossy White card stock

Reinkers in various light blues and purples (I used three retired Stampin' Up! inks)
Tempting Turquoise ink
VersaMark ink

White Embossing Powder
Heat Tool
Aqua Painter
Water Spritzer

Fold a 5 1/2" x 8 1/2" piece of Tempting Turquoise card stock in half, and crease it well 
with a bone folder.

Stamp the various snowflakes randomly across the Glossy White card stock with VersaMark 
ink. (I did not use the largest of the snowflake stamps.)

Cover the stamped snowflakes with White Embossing Powder, tapping the excess back 
the container. Heat to emboss. Make sure ALL the snowflakes are shiny!

Drop a single drop of each of the three reinkers on a scrap of glossy card stock. Spritz 
the embossed piece with water. With an Aqua Painter, pick up a bit of one of the colors 
and randomly drop it here and there among the wet snowflakes. Continue doing this with 
each of the colors until your background is covered with blended inks. Use the Heat Tool 
to move the colors around and to dry the piece. Isn't that pretty?

Wrap a length of Tempting Turquoise Grosgrain Ribbon around the snowflake piece, securing 
it on the back. Adhere this piece to the card front.

On a 1" x 3 1/2" piece of Whisper White card stock, stamp "Believe" in Tempting Turquoise. 
Use a square punch to create the flagged end. Attach this over the ribbon with Stampin' Dimensionals. Tie a bow in a piece of Tempting Turquoise ribbon, and attach it to the card 
with a Mini Glue Dot.

Now, enjoy those real snowflakes when they make their appearance!


November 27, 2012


You know what they say: time flies? And that it gets worse as you grow older? As I age, I am discovering how so very true that old adage is. And I'm dismayed.


That's absolutely right. We alone are in control of how we spend this precious gift we've been given called "time". Be sure to spend it wisely.


November 25, 2012


I had seen several examples of a technique called Faux Cloisonne, and thought it would be a wonderful way to depict an elegant ornament on a Christmas card. Using random pages from
a magazine is the secret to this technique.

Cloisonne is a method of decorating metal objects. Design compartments are added to the
metal object by soldering or adhering silver or gold wires. These compartments are then
filled in with enamel that is then kiln-fired, rendering the soldered compartments visible
in the finished piece. In ancient times, the technique was utilized in decorative pieces and jewelry. I have in my possession a few pieces of modern cloisonne in the form of necklace pendants and a pill box. It is lovely and elegant. For further information on cloisonne, you
can check here

Here are two examples of the card I created utilizing the Faux Cloisonne technique.

Even using such contrasting colored pages as black and red proves that each of the 
ornaments glows with its own special beauty. Any shiny page from a magazine is grist 
for the Faux Cloisonne mill. Or, for that matter, any combination of colors or patterns 
as long as it is subtle enough for the beautiful embossing to show. At times, I have 
thought I had chosen the perfect magazine image for my ornament, but after finishing,
it just didn't look as I had envisioned it. 

You can see here the closeups of both of the cards in my samples:

In my examples, I used the Stampin' Up! Pewter Embossing Powder and our Ornament 
A perfect combination, eh?

If you would like to create your own Faux Cloisonne Christmas cards, this is how I did 
my samples:

Baroque Motifs stamp set (unfortunately retired, but Stampin' Up! carries several swirly 
designs that would work admirably with this technique)

Whisper White Card Stock
Sahara Sand Card Stock

VersaMark Ink

Ornament Punch
Corner Rounder Punch
Big Shot
Vintage Wallpaper Embossing Folder
Designer Frame Embossing Folder
Basic Rhinestones
Heat Tool
Pewter Embossing Powder
Embossing Buddy
Early Espresso 3/8" Taffeta Ribbon (retired)
Magazine pages

Fold a 5 1/2" x 8 1/2" piece of Sahara Sand card stock in half, creasing well with a bone folder.

Run a 4" x 5 1/4" piece of Whisper White card stock through the Big Shot inside the Vintage Wallpaper Embossing Folder. A piece of 2 1/4" x 3" Whisper White card stock is also run through the Big Shot, but this time inside the Designer Frames Embossing Folder. Round the corners of this piece.

Adhere the smaller frame piece to a 2 1/2" x 3 1/4" piece of Sahara Sand card stock. Round the corners of the Sahara Sand piece also. Attach this larger piece to the embossed background, then to the card front.

Go through magazine pages, and select a colorful background that you think would make a wondrous ornament. 

Rub the Embossing Buddy over the portion of magazine page you have chosen. Stamp with the swirls from the Baroque Motifs (or your choice) in VersaMark. Sprinkle with Pewter Embossing Powder and heat to emboss. 

Use the Ornament Punch to punch out your ornament, choosing the most pleasing place in the swirls for your ornament. From a scrap of card stock, punch another ornament. Adhere these 
two ornament punches together to give the flimsy magazine page some stability. Attach to the center of the embossed frame with two Stampin' Dimensionals. Place a Basic Rhinestone onto your ornament.

Tie ribbon into a bow and attach it above the ornament with a Mini Glue Dot.

Although I didn't show the inside of my cards, rub the Embossing Buddy over the inside of the card and stamp a sentiment of your choice in VersaMark ink. Emboss with Pewter Embossing Powder. This just carries the elegance found on the front of the card throughout the greeting.

As always, you can order the needed supplies for your Stampin' Up! projects by clicking my button on the side of my blog. 


November 22, 2012


Wishing you and yours the happiest and safest of Thanksgivings!


November 21, 2012


I finished up my first batch of Christmas cards last night. My usual plan is to make a bunch --
any arbitrary number -- of one type, a bunch of another design, etc., until I have the number
of Christmas cards I need to send out for any given year. Usually by this time of the preseason
I am much farther along than this, and I was starting to get that panicky feeling.

Yesterday, snowflakes were on my plate. I used the new Stampin' Up! Bigz Die called Snow
Flurry (page 14 in the Holiday Catalog). I thought the snowflake that was produced when all
three of them were stacked together was just the neatest, and I wanted to feature it on one
of my Christmas card designs for this year.

I used various retired patterns of Night of Navy and Not Quite Navy Designer Series Paper for
this project. I ran the pieces of DSP through the Big Shot inside another new Stampin' Up! product, the Lacy Brocade Textured Impressions Embossing Folder (page 6 in the Holiday
Catalog) to give them some elegant texture. I then sanded the tops of the embossed design
to bring out some white from the core of the paper. I thought this added a nice snow-flecked effect.

A little less than half of the cards I made yesterday have the Not Quite Navy background:

And the rest are on the Night of Navy background color:

You can see that both of the cards pictured are on a polka dot background. I mean, 
obviously you can't compare oranges to apples, right? I can't decide which one is my 
favorite: Card Number 1 on Not Quite Navy, or Card Number 2 on Night of Navy. 
What's your opinion on this important matter?


November 19, 2012


Starting today, Stampin' Up! will be holding an Online Extravaganza, their version of huge Black Friday savings. The promotion will run November 19 through November 28.

On Monday (today) only, you can save on three of their popular products: the Simply Scored Diagonal Plate, the Big Shot Doctor's Bag, and the BIG SHOT!! Remember, these savings are for Monday only.

Then Wednesday, November 28, the last day of the promotion, they are running specials on their Clear Blocks and storage.

For the entire promotion, November 19-28, you can save big, from 20% - 50% off the regular prices of many items.

Check out the flyer for the Online Extravaganza here:  Or click on the icon for the Online Extravaganza to the right on my blog.

To take advantage of these super savings, shop at my Online Store:

While you are there, be sure to check out the Clearance Rack -- savings up to 80% off!!

Have a blast!


November 16, 2012


I know this will seem like deja vu to you all, but here it is again: French Foliage!

This card utilizes a really cool technique that is perfect for this time of the year --
the Joseph's Coat Technique.

I know it has been said before, but this photo definitely does not capture the true beauty 
and depth of colors in the card. It has much more of a golden, warmer cast. But this gives 
you an idea of what can be done.

There are several ways to do this technique, but following is how this particular card is created. (Please keep in mind that if you ever want to recreate any of my cards, I would be thrilled if 
I could be your Stampin' Up! demonstrator by having you order your supplies through my site 
via the button on my sidebar!)

French Foliage stamp set
Teeny Tiny Wishes stamp set

Whisper White card stock (Yes! Does it look like Whisper White anywhere on this card??)
More Mustard card stock
Cherry Cobbler card stock

Cherry Cobbler ink
More Mustard ink
Always Artichoke ink
Cajun Craze ink
Basic Black ink
VersaMark ink

Heat Tool
Clear Embossing Powder
Black Embossing Powder
Embossing Buddy
Word Window Punch
Paper Piercing Tool and Mat
Gold Brads
Big Shot
Matchbox Die
Stamping Sponge
Stampin' Dimensionals

Fold a 5 1/2" x 8 1/2" piece of More Mustard card stock in half, creasing it well with a bone folder.

Using Stamping Sponges with the matching inks, sponge all over a 5 1/4" x 4" piece of  Whisper White card stock. The inks used at this time are Cherry Cobbler, More Mustard, Always Artichoke and Cajun Craze. Keep adding splotches of the various colors until the entire piece is filled with color. Make some areas a little lighter, some a littler darker. The contrast will be good in your final product.

Over the colored area, stamp the leaves in varying positions in VersaMark, trying not to overlap the leaves just too much. Cover the entire area with Clear Embossing Powder. Use a pair of tweezers to hold the paper while you use the Heat Tool to heat set all the leaves.

Roll a clean brayer across the Basic Black ink pad several times, always in the same direction. Brayer the black ink over the leaves. The coverage won't be very pleasing until you have done
 this quite a few times. Continue reinking and brayering in different directions until you have pretty solid coverage. With a piece of facial tissue, buff all the leaves to remove the excess
ink. All of your beautiful colors should shine through the embossed leaves!

Adhere leaf piece to card front.

Create a Cherry Cobbler label using the Matchbox Die in the Big Shot.  You can also substitute
any of a  number of other labels if you don't have the Matchbox Die.

On a scrap of More Mustard card stock, stamp the sentiment (could be replaced with Happy Thanksgiving if you choose) with VersaMark ink. Add Black Embossing Powder to the sentiment and use the Heat Tool to emboss. Turning the Word Window Punch upside down, insert the sentiment and center in the window to punch it out. Adhere the sentiment to the red label.

With the Paper Piercing Tool over the piercing mat, pierce a hole on either side of the sentiment. Insert a gold brad into each hole

Adhere the label to the card front with two Stampin' Dimensionals.

And, with this card, I promise I won't bother you with the French Foliage stamp set anymore -- well, at least, for awhile.


November 14, 2012


I thought I would show you a few of the possible Christmas cards I have come up with thus far.
I always make several different cards so I have a nice selection to choose from when sending
my greetings of the season.

The first card utilizes something really cool from the Holiday Catalog: The Ornament Keepsakes Bundle. You see, you have a choice. You can either order the Ornament Keepsakes stamp set
and the Holiday Ornaments Framelits to die cut the stamped images separately. OR, Stampin'
Up! had a great idea this year. They bundled the two items to save you 15%.

I'm sure you've already seen lots and lots of ornaments and cards using these two products
around the Internet. And why not?? They are gorgeous, completely gorgeous. Here's my take:

When using one of the nine ornaments that come in the stamp set on a card, you have several options on how to do it. You could heat emboss one of the ornaments with your favorite metallic embossing powder, or even one of the cool colored embossing powders Stampin' Up! carries, cut it out with the appropriate Framelit, and adhere it to a card front. You could do that with a selection of maybe three of the different ornaments. Instead of embossing, you could simply stamp them in different colored inks. There are any number of variations on that same theme.

I opted to go with the three-dimensional ornament look. I simply stamped and die cut three of the identical ornaments. Fold them all in half, adhere them back to back to each other. Then mount it to the card. The back of the ornament will be flat against the card. The cool thing is that -- to save that extra 20 cents postage -- the front two layers of the ornament lay down flat for mailing. The recipient then just rejuvenates it by pulling the two flattened side upwards. Voila! (You may have to come up with the extra 20 cents though if you add the bow. The knot gives the USPS a problem.)

The beautiful embossed background that is the perfect home for this ornament is made with the new Holiday Frame Textured Impressions Embossing Folder. The Gumball Green ribbon is some of the 3/8" Stitched Satin Ribbon that comes in this year's In Colors, Midnight Muse, Primrose Petals, Raspberry Ripple, Summer Starfruit, and of course, the Gumball Green. The elegant greeting comes from the Snow Swirled set, and it is stamped on a label from the Lots of Tags Sizzlits set. And, of course, I sponged the edges with Gumball Green (I'm a big sponger!), and mounted it over the ribbon with Stampin' Dimensionals.

I think it makes a pretty card. Do YOU like it?


November 11, 2012


My mom has a birthday coming up on Saturday, so I wanted to make her a really special birthday card. She loves having birds come to their feeder outside the kitchen window, and talks about them frequently to me.

I have had a stamp set, Every Moment, that is, unfortunately retired now, for awhile, and never used it. One of the images in the set, a bird in cattails, was especially appealing to me. The real reason I purchased the set. So, here was my chance to finally use it and make someone happy.

Since American Goldfinches are bright bright yellow (in the summer), I decided to stamp it in Basic Black onto a retired card stock color, Yoyo Yellow. The perfect yellow for a finch. I added a few finchlike characteristics to him and cut him out. I stamped the image once more on Naturals White card stock and colored in the cattails with Stampin' Write Markers. I then popped the cut-out finch over the stamped one with a few pieces of Stampin' Dimensionals.

I framed the finished piece with one of the Labels Collection Framelits diecut in my Big Shot, then used a larger Framelit to create the Soft Suede mat around it. Adding two antiquey brads to the top and bottom of the mat seemed to anchor the image. Stampin' Up!'s new Woodgrain Embossing Folder used with Always Artichoke card stock seemed to be the perfect background for this natural scene. A bow created from Always Artichoke Seam Binding Ribbon added the needed feminine touch.

Happy Birthday, Mom!


November 8, 2012


Here I go again! I used French Foliage in this card one more time. I just cannot get enough of that stamp set.

At my October Stamp-In workshop, my girls made another fallish card. Fallish? VERY fallish.

Initially, when I had the background of leaves finished, I thought it looked kind of drab and flat. What could I do to perk it up some, to make it look more REAL? Hmmm. I know! Grab French Foliage! That always saves the day. 

After adding some of the French Foliage leaves and dots, even though it was subtle, it was enlivened enough to please me. Here's a close-up.

If you would like to add a little more fall to your life -- maybe a Thanksgiving card?? -- here is how you do it:

French Foliage Stamp Set (surprise!)

Crumb Cake Card Stock
Bravo Burgundy Card Stock
More Mustard Card Stock

Crumb Cake Ink
Cherry Cobbler Ink
Pumpkin Pie Ink
More Mustard Ink

Big Shot
Autumn Accents Bigz Die
Houndstooth Embossing Folder
Linen Thread
Paper Piercing Tool
Gold Brads
Stampin' Dimensionals
Sponge Daubers
Apothecary Accents Framelits
Stamping Sponge

Fold a piece of 5 1/2" x 8 1/2" Crumb Cake card stock in half, creasing well with a bone folder.

Distress the edges of a 5 1/4" x 4" piece of Bravo Burgundy card stock in the manner you wish. Attach this piece to the card front.

Create a stencil for the background leaves by placing a piece of card stock or quilting template plastic over the Autumn Accents Bigz Die and running it through the Big Shot. Use the negative spaces for your stencil. Save the leaves for another project.

On a 5" x 3 3/4" piece of Crumb Cake card stock, place the stencil here and there, holding the stencil in place each time with blue painters tape or another removable tape. With Sponge Daubers in the appropriate colors, stencil (sponge) in the leaves.

Use the leaves and distressed dots from the French Foliage set to stamp randomly across the leaves in Crumb Cake ink. This is a subtle effect, but enough to give the sponged leaves a bit more dimension. 

Run a 4 1/4" x 2" piece of Bravo Burgundy card stock through the Big Shot inside the rounded end label from the Apothecary Accents Framelits. Make sure the Framelit is centered because this will be your actual frame. Repeat with a 2" x 4" piece of Crumb Cake card stock. This one doesn't need to be centered because you are just using the label itself. Sponge the edges of the Crumb Cake label with Bravo Burgundy card stock with a stamping sponge.

Use the Piercing Tool over the foam mat to create holes in both of the rounded ends of the label. Insert gold brads into the holes.

Nestle the Crumb Cake label inside the Bravo Burgundy label frame and adhere to the card front.

Run a 2 1//4" x 3 1/2" piece of More Mustard card stock through the Big Shot to create an oak leaf with the Autumn Accents Bigz Die. Run the leaf through the Big Shot once again inside the Houndstooth Embossing Folder. Sponge all the edges of the leaf with Bravo Burgundy ink. I also sponged lightly inside the leaf.

Tie a piece of Linen Thread around the stem of the leaf in a bow. I added small knots to the ends of the thread. Attach the leaf to the card with Stampin' Dimensionals.

Enjoy the creating!


November 7, 2012


Last week, I held an Open House in my home to celebrate Stampin' Up!'s special one-day sale, their Sell-A-Stamp Spooktacular on Monday, October 29. I had a cute make-and-take for my attendees. Wanting to make it a fun project for all stampers, both novice and experienced, I decided on offering their choice of color to make this card:

The blue on Naturals White option proved to be the most popular. The other background choice was Naturals Ivory. Of course, they were free to choose their favorite color combination for their own card. 

I had cut the stencil for the sponged background ahead of time with one of the Labels Collection Framelits in my Big Shot using a piece of quilting template plastic for durability. Rather than have to clean the template with each color change, I simply made three templates, one for each of the colors. Although all my samples show the sponging inside the template to be fairly strong-colored, I discovered that a lighter touch made for an even more appealing card. 

The snowflakes used on these cards are from the Snowflake Soiree stamp set. Aren't they just the prettiest snowflakes you've ever seen? I fell in love with the set the moment I set my eyes on it. Of course, I had to add it to my arsenal. 

I had cut pieces for many cards, not knowing how many to expect to attend my Open House. Once the day was over, I had the makings of several cards in each color, so instead of adding the cut-up pieces to my stash of scraps, I decided to make up the rest of the cards. They are just so much of a joy to create!

With the leftover pieces, I created cards of every color combination, and now I have them for sale in my Etsy shop here: The cards I have for sale all feature the background sponged with a lighter hand than those in my samples.


November 4, 2012


This vellum snowman features the Stampin' Up! set Snow Much Fun, a set that truly is SNOW much fun! I find myself reaching for it time after time, and still can't get enough of the two happy snowmen wearing their winter boots, accompanied by the cheery winter birds. These characters never fail to make me smile.

The tutorial to make this card can be purchased in a PDF format through my Etsy store, here: The techniques used to create the card are fairly simple and result in a nice icy effect. 

Here is a close-up detail of the card: 


November 1, 2012


Can you tell? I simply adore the Stampin' Up! set French Foliage! It is wonderfully versatile. And NEVER disappoints.

This is a card I sent to my family for Thanksgiving last year. Simply made, it appears to be  more complicated.

Basically, all you do to get this highly-textured, rich effect is to stamp your images on a piece of Sahara Sand card stock, and THEN run it through the Big Shot inside the Square Lattice Embossing Folder. To add a bit to the distressed look, I ripped, bent and curled the edges of this layer, in addition to sponging the distressed edges and here and there across the image with Sahara Sand ink.

Here is a closer view of the textured surface:

Quite loverly, huh?